Weekend Sports In Brief
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Andrew Luck threw for 376 yards and a game-changing touchdown as he was headed to the turf, and Daniel ”Boom” Herron ran for another score as Indianapolis dominated the second half to beat Cincinnati 26-10 in the wild-card round.
As the Colts (12-5) were setting up a rematch at Denver (12-4) next Sunday, the Bengals frittered away a chance to end their postseason misery.
The Bengals became the first team in NFL history to lose four consecutive opening-round games. Andy Dalton tied Warren Moon for the most consecutive opening-round playoff losses by a quarterback.
Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis tied Marty Schottenheimer, Jim Mora and Steven Owen for most consecutive playoff losses (six) by a coach. Lewis also tied Mora, the former Colts coach, for most consecutive playoff losses to start a career, and tied Owen for most consecutive playoff losses with one team.
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Tony Romo threw two touchdown passes to Terrance Williams, the second for the lead late in the fourth quarter, and the Dallas Cowboys rallied for a 24-20 wild-card win over Detroit in their first playoff game in five years.
The Cowboys (13-4) wiped out an early two-touchdown deficit to earn a trip to Green Bay, their first visit there in the postseason since a heartbreaking loss to the Packers in the Ice Bowl in 1967.
The Lions (11-6) went 99 yards for one of two first-quarter touchdowns, but Matthew Stafford couldn’t get them in the end zone again. He fell to 0-2 in the playoffs three years after losing a wild-card game to New Orleans.
The winning drive came after officials reversed a pass interference penalty against Dallas, resulting in a Detroit punt.
PITTSBURGH (AP) – The rarely flustered Joe Flacco tossed two second-half touchdowns and the Baltimore Ravens dominated the Pittsburgh Steelers 30-17 on Saturday night in the AFC wild-card game.
Flacco hit Torrey Smith for an 11-yard score in the third quarter and found Crockett Gillmore with a 21-yard pass in the fourth one play after Terrell Suggs picked off Ben Roethlisberger. The Ravens won in Pittsburgh for the first time in the postseason.
Baltimore (11-6) sacked Roethlisberger five times and kept the NFL’s second-ranked offense off-balance. Roethlisberger passed for 334 yards, but the Steelers (11-6) settled for field goals while the Ravens kept scoring touchdowns against their AFC North rival.
Baltimore heads to top-seeded New England next Saturday.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Cam Newton threw for 198 yards and two touchdowns, Carolina’s defense set an NFL record for fewest yards allowed in a postseason game, and the Panthers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 27-16 on Saturday.
It was Carolina’s first playoff win in nine years and Newton’s first playoff victory since entering the league as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft. Jonathan Stewart ran for 123 yards and a touchdown on a rain-soaked afternoon.
The Panthers held Arizona to 78 yards, intercepted Ryan Lindley twice and sacked him four times. Carolina had 386 yards.
The Panthers (8-8-1) will play at top-seeded Seattle next weekend if Dallas beats Detroit on Sunday. If the Lions win, the Panthers play at Green Bay.
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) – Kareem Hunt ran for 271 yards and five touchdowns to lead Toledo over Arkansas State 63-44 in the GoDaddy Bowl on Sunday night.
The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Hunt capped a phenomenal season by slicing through Arkansas State’s defense early and often. The performance set a GoDaddy Bowl record and he averaged 8.5 yards per carry.
Hunt, who finished the season with 1,631 yards rushing, had touchdown runs of 4, 44 and 29 yards in the first half as the Rockets built a 35-17 halftime lead. Toledo (9-4) ended the season on a three-game winning streak.
Arkansas State (7-6) pulled within 49-38 in the fourth quarter, but could get no closer. The Red Wolves were playing in their fourth straight GoDaddy Bowl and fell to 2-2 over that span.
Arkansas State’s Fredi Knighten threw for 403 yards and five touchdowns.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – Treon Harris threw an 86-yard scoring pass to Ahmad Fulwood and Vernon Hargreaves III intercepted a pass in the end zone late to preserve Florida’s 28-20 victory over East Carolina on Saturday in the Birmingham Bowl.
The big plays helped the Gators (7-5) finish a disappointing season with a winning record while new coach Jim McElwain was among the spectators. Brian Poole also scored on a 29-yard interception return and Florida’s defense repeatedly turned East Carolina’s high-powered offense away from the end zone.
Shane Carden was 34 of 66 for 427 yards for the Pirates (8-5) but Hargreaves’ pick with 1:20 left ended his day.
CLEVELAND (AP) – Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said David Blatt will remain the team’s head coach and that no change will be made.
Griffin, speaking to reporters before Sunday’s game against Dallas, called scrutiny about Blatt’s job status ”ridiculous” and said he isn’t giving the rookie head coach a vote of confidence because ”he never needed one.”
Griffin also took issue with reports that LeBron James, who is sidelined with knee and back soreness, is unhappy with Blatt and said the narrative about the coach’s job is over.
Griffin disagreed with the idea that James isn’t supporting Blatt, talk that began in earnest last week. When the four-time MVP was asked if Blatt was the right coach for the team, he said. ”Yeah, he’s our coach, I mean, what other coach do we have?” Pressed about endorsing Blatt, James said, ”Listen man, I don’t pay no bills around here. I play.”
NEW YORK (AP) – Stuart Scott was in his element, working a ”Monday Night Football” game, when he was forced to leave for an appendix operation.
Doctors discovered a tumor during surgery and Scott was diagnosed with cancer. But he made a point of continuing to live his life – at work and outside of it.
”You beat cancer by how you live,” he would later say. ”So live. Live. Fight like hell.”
That fight ended Sunday when Scott, the longtime ”SportsCenter” anchor and ESPN personality known for his enthusiasm and ubiquity, died at age 49.